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Twitter gives Obama a run for his money


President called it—in less than 140 characters.

Around 11:15 pm EST, just as the networks were beginning to call the race in his favor, Obama took to to proclaim himself the winner over Republican candidate

“This happened because of you. Thank you,” Obama tweeted. That the president would take his message to before taking the stage in Chicago underscored the tremendous role social media like played in the 2012 polls.

Minutes later, with the race called in his favour, Obama tweeted again. “We’re all in this together. That's how we campaigned, and that’s who we are. Thank you. -bo.”

Through the course of a long and bitter presidential campaign, often served as the new first rough draft of history.(OBAMA & THE US ECONOMY)

Top campaign aides used the Internet tool to snipe at each other, the candidates used it to get out their messages and political reporters used it to inform and entertain.

On Election Night, the tweets were flowing.

By 10 pm EST, with the race still up for grabs, announced it had broken records. There were more than 31 million election-related tweets on Tuesday night, making Election Night "the most tweeted about event in U.S. political history," said spokeswoman Between 6 p.m. and midnight EST, there were more than 23 million tweets.

Horwitz noted the previous record was 10 million, during the first presidential debate on October 3.

"brought people closer to almost every aspect of the election this year," Horwitz said. "From breaking news, to sharing the experience of watching the debates, to interacting directly with the candidates, became a kind of nationwide caucus."

In the moments following Obama's win, was in a frenzy, with a peak of 327,000 tweets a minute.

Another tweet from Obama, one that read: "Four more years" and showed a picture of him hugging his wife, became the most retweeted tweet in the history of the site.

'First poll'
Love it or hate it, and its role in politics appears to be here to stay.

For Rob Johnson, campaign manager for Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry's failed presidential run, "changed the dynamic this cycle and will continue to play a bigger role in years to come."

"We no longer click refresh on websites or wait for the paper boy to throw the on our porch," Johnson said. "We go to and learn the facts before others read it."

The 2012 race was the first where played such an important role. Top campaign advisers like Romney's Eric Fehrnstrom and Obama's David Axelrod engaged in battles through the year.

With many political reporters and campaign staff on and Facebook, social media websites were often the first place broke. Some top stories were kept alive or thrust into the headlines after becoming hot topics on

"It was one heckuva echo chamber," Dante Scala, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire, said in an email.

Johnson said was the driving force behind some of the year's biggest political stories.

"The twitterverse shapes the and public opinion," Johnson said. "The Internet is truly a real and powerful tool in politics."

In future elections, candidates and their campaign staffs will have to include social media as another battleground, Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons said.

"This was the first election and social media is now fully a part of our election mechanics," Simmons said. "Going forward candidates must have an aggressive social media strategy if they want to win."

First Published: Thu, November 08 2012. 00:56 IST